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sewer smell throughout entire house

Posted By: susan
Wednesday, 29 September 1999, at 9:22 a.m.

Help!

We moved into a new house in May which took nearly 11 months to build. As soon as the toilets were hooked up and started being used...we started noticing this terrible smell throughout the entire house, although it definately is stronger in certain areas. Unfortunately, the areas where the concentrated smell is located seems to move, and comes and goes without much evidence as to why it starts or what has changed to remedy the noxious situation.

We were told it would go away once we moved in and started using all the sinks, baths, etc, and the traps got a chance to fill and block the sewer gas. But it only got worse when we moved in and upon inspection, the traps seem to be full of water. In fact, at one point we were "watering" our basement drains when the air conditioner was off, in case the traps had evaporated.

Our plumber is stymied. The water smells and tastes fine. So he is leaning towards it being a dead animal somewhere since the intensity of the smell is just putrid. But we doubt the rotting carcus theory...because when the smell is gone, it is absolutely gone, no gradually fading out like we have noticed in our other little farmhouse when a mouse (or something) occassionally crawled off and died where we couldn't find it.

I should mention we use a septic tank for our sewage and a private well for our water, we have one water softener, and our water heater seems to be drawing adequately. One drain supposedly leads to the septic tank and another leads out to a field in another direction.

We are afraid we shouldn't have used the "form-a-drain" around the parameter of the basement as recommended by someone during the earliest stages of our construction. Could that be the source of the leak, allowing the sewer gas to escape and attack the house and it's inhabitants from all points? If so, what do we do now?

My husband wonders now if we should caulk around the parameter trying to seal off the suspect form-a-drain area, in case it is causing the problem. He also feels it is worse, don't laugh, when the wind is blowing from the north, maybe blowing into the pipe where the extra water is suppose to drain if the basement were to ever flood.

Any ideas and solutions would be SO appreciated. (It can get very strong at times.)

susan

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